Acquitted Obstructionist Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds, whose appeals are finally over after his conviction was reversed, cost American taxpayers a pretty penny. Bonds was prosecuted federally, so we are all paying: this was not a local jurisdictional exercise. This was a substantial expenditure by the United States government. The notice filed yesterday that the government would not attempt to appeal the case to the Supreme Court effectively ends the case, and avoids any additional cost. However, the cost of that final appeal would have been a drop in the bucket of the total cost of prosecuting this case.
Estimates back in 2009 put the cost of the trial at around $6 million. But the trial was the culmination of many years of investigation, whose tally was estimated several years back to be from $55 million up to $100 million. I have not been able to find any more recent estimates, nor any estimates that include the ongoing appellate tally, which included the original appeal, then the larger panel appellate rehearing which finally reversed the one charge of which Bonds was convicted. The Roger Clemens trial may have cost another $10 million or more. That’s a lot of money which was ultimately put toward proving cheating in baseball. While it may be the national pastime; it is not a public interest that needs a government referee (or umpire). The conclusion of Bonds’ case may finally have put an end to this costly undertaking. An undertaking whose bill was paid by U.S. taxpayers.
Posted in California, Criminal Law, Federal
Tagged appeal, balco, barry bonds, baseball, drugs, jeff novitsky, mlb, obstruction, perjury, roger clemens, trial, witch hunt
The specious prosecution of Barry Bonds has wound down to an anticlimactic conclusion. Just a little while ago, the Justice Department filed notice that they would not be seeking Supreme Court review of the appellate court decision that overturned Bond’s conviction. That means they are not seeking further appeal, and the case is effectively dismissed.
The government went after Bonds not for using steroids, but for obstruction of justice for not giving them straight answers when questioned by federal agents. He went to trial, and was only convicted of one count, specifically for a meandering answer he gave that was not directly responsive to the question. Ironically, he already served the sentence, which involved house arrest instead of incarceration.
A similar prosecution against Roger Clemens led to not guilty verdicts at trial, though some non-baseball players were not as fortunate. Track star Marion Jones was sentenced to 6 months jail after entering a plea for lying in her steroid investigation. As is often the case, the cover up is worse than the offense. Remember, if federal agents come calling, call a lawyer right away, even if you have nothing to hide!
Posted in California, Criminal Law, Drugs, Federal
Tagged balco, barry bonds, drugs, marion jones, obstruction, perjury, roger clemens, steroids
7-time NL MVP Barry Bonds
The 11th Circuit overturned the conviction of Barry Bonds today. Bonds lost his trial on obstruction charges for a meandering answer to a question in front of a grand jury related to a steroid investigation. The appellate court initially upheld the conviction, but agreed to a larger panel re-hearing. The 11-judge rehearing panel found that the response was not material to the government’s investigation into steroids.
The government can appeal (or ask for a full rehearing in front of the 11th circuit). Three other counts of the indictment were deadlocked by the trial jury, and later dismissed by prosecutors. Bonds was sentenced to 30 days home confinement, which he already served, plus fines and community service. The initial statement in question was made in 2003, which means Bonds’ legal saga has now gone on for about 12 years… and may not be done yet.
The Ninth Circuit Court has upheld the Federal conviction of Barry Bonds for obstruction of justice. Bonds will now have to serve his sentence, which is only some house arrest followed by probation. He was acquitted of related perjury charges. This minor conviction is still notable as one of the few steroid related cases to actually result in a conviction. Most famously, Roger Clemens was acquitted of all charges in the perjury prosecution he faced related to his alleged steroid use.
Just an update on Lenny Dykstra, who wasn’t so lucky and was sentenced to three years in prison… he’s out as of a few weeks ago. Hope Nails can turn it around, but he kind of seems like a jerk.
Busy week at the office, I’ll try to get updates on Gonzalez soon for those who haven’t been able to follow. It didn’t finish today, and will continue into Saturday.